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Unique flagstones of Rabat Tepe Raise Questions


20 October 2005


(CHN) -- The first season of archaeological excavations in Rabat Tepe led to the discovery of 3000-year-old 180x180 cm flagstone, which have never been seen before in any Urartu historical sites. Similar flagstones have been found in Ancient Rome and Ancient Iran historical sites.

Rabat Tepe is located near the town of Sardasht in West Azarbaijan province of Iran. It is believed that hill used to be the capital of Musasir government about 3000 years ago. Before setting on the excavations the site was supposed to be something about 14 hectares, but recent excavations prove it to cover a 25-hectare land.

“The first season of excavations in the second Rabat Tepe in Rabat city led to the discovery of circled flagstones, which were never seen before in other Urartu civilization historical sites. These flagstones consist of seven intricate circles measuring 180x180 cms,” says Reza Heidari, archaeologist of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of West Azarbaijan.

The first season of excavation in Rabat Tepe led to the discovery of winged goddesses and a naked winged goddess in the region which have attracted the attention of domestic and foreign experts and media. Such winged goddesses were always thought to have belonged to Greece.

“The flagstones are of oval river rocks put together in an artistic way and framed with bricks. This type of work has been seen in Ancient Rome and Iran. But how people of this region did learn the art is a question that needs a long term excavation and studies to be answered,” explains Heidari.

Another question experts are faced with is using colors during the first Iron Age in this historical site. Besides it is not known yet what the winged goddesses were the symbols of in this region 3000 years ago.

Rabat Tepe is one of the key historical sites of Iran. Experts believe that it was an ancient city probably located near the upper Great Zab River. Musasir was particularly important during the first half of the first millennium before the Christ and is known primarily from reliefs and inscriptions obtained during the reign of the Assyrian king Sargon the second, who captured it in 714 B.C. According to the inscriptions, Sargon first plundered the palace and storerooms that belonged to Urzana, the king of Musasir, and then seized the even richer contents of the temple of Haldi, the God of the ancient kingdom of Urartu.